LA Times Crossword 4 Jul 20, Saturday

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Constructed by: Julian Lim
Edited by: Rich Norris

Today’s Theme: None

Happy Independence Day, everyone!

Bill’s time: 8m 46s

Bill’s errors: 0

Today’s Wiki-est Amazonian Googlies

Across

8 Usually not eligible for tenure, as a professor : ADJUNCT

In the US, an adjunct professor is one that is hired on a contractual basis, possibly part-time.

A job in a university that is described as “tenure-track” is one that can lead to a tenured position. A tenured position is a “job for life”. A person with tenure can only be dismissed for cause.

18 “The Meyerowitz Stories” co-star : SANDLER

Adam Sandler’s big break was with “Saturday Night Live” (SNL). He then went on to make several successful movies and has his own movie and television production company. Personally, I am not a fan of Adam Sandler as a performer, nor a fan of his movies …

“The Meyerowitz Stories” is a 2017 comedy-drama film with quite the cast, including Adam Sandler, Ben Stiller, Dustin Hoffman, Emma Thompson, Candice Bergen and Judd Hirsch. The characters played by Hoffman and Thompson have a poodle named Bruno. Bruno won the 2007 Palm Dog Award at the Cannes Film Festival. Yes, the award for the best performing dog in a movie screened at the Cannes Film Festival.

19 Xenomorphs, e.g. : ETS

The antagonists in the “Alien” series of films are extraterrestrials, described at one point in the script as “xenomorphs”. The term “xenomorph” was coined for the screen using the Greek roots “xeno-” (other, strange) and “-morph” (shape).

22 Razor handle : ATRA

Fortunately for crossword constructors, the Atra was introduced by Gillette in 1977, as the first razor with a pivoting head. The Atra was sold as the Contour in some markets and its derivative products are still around today.

27 German article : EIN

The definite article in German is der, die or das, for masculine, feminine and neuter nouns. The indefinite article is ein, eine or ein, again depending on the gender of the noun. A further complication, relative to English, is that the masculine form (and only the masculine form) of the article changes when used in the accusative case, when used with the object of a sentence. The accusative forms are “den” and “einen”.

29 Range makeup: Abbr. : MTS

Mountain (mt.)

32 Tandoori bread : NAN

Naan (also “nan”) bread is very popular in Indian restaurants, as well as in other West, Central and South Asian cuisines. Indian Naan is traditionally baked in a clay oven known as a tandoor.

35 Safari, say : IPHONE APP

Safari is Apple’s flagship Internet browser, one that is used on its Mac line of computers. A mobile version of Safari is included with all iPhones.

37 Au naturel : UNCLOTHED

“Au naturel” is a French phrase, one simply meaning “in a natural state”. We use the term in English in the same sense, and also to mean “nude”.

39 Racing Unsers : ALS

The Unser family seems to have auto racing in their blood. Al Unser, Sr. won the Indy 500 on four occasions. Al’s brother Jerry was the first of the Unsers to compete at Indianapolis. Al’s other brother Bobby, won the Indy three times. Al’s son, Al Junior, won the Indy twice. Al Junior’s son is also a racing driver who competes at the Indy Speedway.

46 Sch. with a Phoenix campus : ASU

Arizona State University (ASU) has a long history, and was founded as the Tempe Normal School for the Arizona Territory in 1885. The athletic teams of ASU used to be known as the Normals, then the Bulldogs, and since 1946 they’ve been called the Sun Devils.

47 “Ashes” (2018) singer : DION

“Ashes” is a 2018 song recorded by Celine Dion for the movie “Deadpool 2”.

French-Canadian singer Céline Dion first came to international attention when she won the 1988 Eurovision Song Contest, in which she represented Switzerland in the competition that was hosted in Dublin, Ireland. She is now the best-selling Canadian artist of all time.

49 Shaky start? : SEISMO-

The combining form “seismo-” means “earthquake”, and comes from “seismos”, the Greek for “earthquake”.

54 Some tech sch. grads : EES

Electrical engineer (EE)

57 2010s TV series that explores hacktivism : MR ROBOT

“Mr. Robot” is an engaging drama series about an anxious and clinically depressed computer hacker. Said hacker joins an anarchic group of hackers known as “Mr. Robot” who are intent on taking down the largest conglomerate in the world. I binge-watched the first two series, and really enjoyed the experience …

60 Opposite of a scenic route : BEELINE

To make a beeline for somewhere or something, one takes a direct route. The term derives from the excellent homing instinct of bees.

61 Frames on a diamond : INNINGS

That would be baseball.

62 Whole number : INTEGER

An integer is a number that does not include a fraction. The word “integer” is Latin for “whole”.

Down

3 Mosaic piece : TESSERA

A tessera is an individual tile used in making a mosaic. Tesserae are usually formed in the shape of cubes.

In the Middle Ages, mosaics were often dedicated to the Muses. The term “mosaic” translates as “of the Muses”.

4 “__ tu”: Verdi aria : ERI

Every crossword constructor’s favorite aria “Eri tu” is from Verdi’s opera “Un ballo in maschera” (“A Masked Ball”). The opera tells the story of the assassination of King Gustav III of Sweden during a masked ball.

5 Pete Seeger wrote a book on how to play five-string ones : BANJOS

The instrument that we know today as the banjo is a derivative of instruments that were used in Africa.

The American folk singer Pete Seeger wrote and co-wrote a lot of classic songs. The list includes “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?”, “If I had a Hammer”, and “Turn, Turn, Turn!”

6 Brown in the kitchen : ALTON

Alton Brown is a celebrity chef who is behind the Food Network show “Good Eats”, and is the host of “Iron Chef America”.

7 Jell-O serving, say : GLOB

If you like Jell-O, then you might want to stop by LeRoy, New York where you can visit the only Jell-O museum in the world. While at the museum, you can walk along the Jell-O Brick Road …

8 Strong core components : ABS OF STEEL

The abdominal muscles (abs) are more correctly referred to as the rectus abdominis muscles. They might be referred to as a “six-pack”, or even a “ten-pack”, in a person who has developed the muscles and who has low body fat. In my case, more like a keg …

10 1, at times: Abbr. : JAN

January is the first month of our Gregorian calendar. It is named for Janus, the Roman god of beginnings and transitions.

11 Food and Nutrition Service org. : USDA

The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) is the agency within the US Department of Agriculture that administers nutrition assistance programs designed to eliminate hunger in the country.

12 Minnesota Wild, for one : NHL TEAM

The Twin Cities of Minneapolis-St. Paul have seven Major League sports teams:

  • Minnesota Twins (baseball)
  • Minnesota Vikings (football)
  • Minnesota Lynx (women’s basketball)
  • Minnesota Timberwolves (basketball)
  • Minnesota Swarm (lacrosse)
  • Minnesota Wild (hockey)
  • Minnesota United (soccer)

The Minnesota Wild is the only one of these seven teams that plays in St. Paul, while the rest play in Minneapolis.

13 Mullahs or ministers : CLERICS

In the Islamic tradition, a mullah is a man or woman educated in theology and sacred law.

24 Dancer’s boss, informally : ST NICK

Saint Nicholas of Myra is the inspiration for Santa Claus. Nicholas was the Bishop of Myra (now in modern-day Turkey) during the 4th century AD, and was known for being generous to the poor. Centuries after he died, his remains were desecrated by Italian sailors and moved to Bari in Italy. One legend has it that the relics were moved again centuries later and reburied in the grounds of Jerpoint Abbey in Co. Kilkenny in Ireland, where you can visit the grave today. I choose to believe that Santa Claus’s relics are indeed buried in Ireland …

We get the names for Santa’s reindeer from the famous 1823 poem called “A Visit from St. Nicholas”, although we’ve modified a couple of the names over the years. The full list is:

  • Dasher
  • Dancer
  • Prancer
  • Vixen
  • Comet
  • Cupid
  • Donder (originally “Dunder”, and now often “Donner”)
  • Blitzen (originally “Blixem”)

Rudolph was added to the list by retailer Montgomery Ward, would you believe? The store commissioned Robert L. May to create a booklet that could be handed out to children around Christmas in 1939, and May introduced us to a new friend for Santa, namely Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

29 Irrelevancies : MOOT POINTS

To moot is to bring up as a subject for discussion or debate. So, something that is moot is open to debate. Something that is no longer moot, is no longer worth debating. We don’t seem to be able get that right, which drives me crazy …

31 Katmandu native : NEPALI

Although Katmandu is the capital city of the lofty nation of Nepal, it sits in a bowl-shaped valley so is only at an elevation of 4,600 ft. Air pollution is a huge problem in the city. Industry and residents launch a lot of smog into the air, and given the surrounding geography and climate, any pollution blown away during the day tends to fall back into the valley at night.

33 “The Chi” airer, briefly : SHO

Showtime (SHO) is a competitor of The Movie Channel (TMC) in terms of program lineup, although both channels are in fact owned by CBS.

37 20th Greek letter : UPSILON

Upsilon is the 20th letter in the Greek alphabet, and the character that gives rise to the letter Y that we use in English.

41 “__ Like You”: Adele hit : SOMEONE

“Someone Like You” is a 2001 Adele song that was the artist’s first number-one hit in her home country, the UK. It’s about a boyfriend who broke up with her.

42 __ Spíritus : Cuban city meaning “Holy Spirit” : SANCTI

The city of Sancti Spíritus in central Cuba was founded way back in 1514 by Spanish conquistador Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar. The name “Sancti Spíritus” translates as “Holy Spirit”.

44 Polecat relative commonly kept as a pet : FERRET

A group of ferrets is called a “business”. An older collective noun for ferrets is a “fesnyng”.

“Polecat” is a term used for several different animals, most of which are in the weasel family.

45 Team listing : ROSTER

Our word “roster”, meaning “list, register”, actually comes from the same root as our word “roast”, would you believe. “Roster” came into English from the Dutch “rooster”, meaning “table, list”. An alternative use of the Dutch “rooster” was “gridiron”, from the “roosten” meaning “to roast”. The connection is that a roster of names is often listed on a sheet of paper that has grid lines resembling the marks left by a gridiron on roasted meat. Quite interesting …

48 Using WhatsApp, say : IMING

Even though instant messaging (sending and receiving IMs) has been around since the 1960s, it was AOL who popularized the term “instant message” in the eighties and nineties. The “AOL Instant Message” service was known as AIM.

WhatsApp is a popular messaging service used on smartphones that sends messages and other files from one mobile phone number to another. Launched in 2011, WhatsApp is incredibly popular, and indeed the most popular messaging service used today. Facebook acquired WhatsApp in 2014, paying over $19 billion.

51 Highway behemoth : SEMI

An 18-wheeler semi-trailer truck has eight wheels under the trailer, i.e. four on each of the two rear axles. There are 10 wheels under the tractor unit. Two of the ten wheels are on the front axle, and eight are on the rear two axles that sit under the front of the trailer.

A behemoth is something that is huge in size. The term comes from the Hebrew word “b’hemoth”, which is a beast described in the Book of Job. It is suggested that the Biblical creature is an elephant, hippopotamus, rhinoceros, crocodile or perhaps something mythical.

53 Both ways at the start? : AMBI-

The prefix “ambi-” that we use to mean “both” is a Latin word that actually means “around” or “round about”. “Ambivalence” was originally just a psychological term, describing “serious conflicting feelings”. Later it came to mean uncertainty about which course to follow.

58 World Cup “Way to go!” : OLE!

The FIFA World Cup is the most prestigious tournament in the sport of soccer. The competition has been held every four years (excluding the WWII years) since the inaugural event held in Uruguay in 1930. The men’s World Cup is the most widely viewed sporting event in the world, even outranking the Olympic Games. And, the women’s World Cup is fast catching up …

Complete List of Clues/Answers

Across

1 Reward for giving, perhaps : TOTE BAG
8 Usually not eligible for tenure, as a professor : ADJUNCT
15 In sum : OVERALL
16 Heedless of the consequences : BRASHLY
17 Dug : WAS INTO
18 “The Meyerowitz Stories” co-star : SANDLER
19 Xenomorphs, e.g. : ETS
20 Switch positions often : JOB-HOP
22 Razor handle : ATRA
23 Uses for snoozes : LIES ON
25 Not lots : A FEW
27 German article : EIN
28 Out of __ : SORTS
29 Range makeup: Abbr. : MTS
30 Make official : ENACT
32 Tandoori bread : NAN
33 “Looks to be the case” : SO IT SEEMS
35 Safari, say : IPHONE APP
37 Au naturel : UNCLOTHED
39 Racing Unsers : ALS
42 Lectured : SPOKE
43 Mate : PAL
44 Flabbergast : FLOOR
46 Sch. with a Phoenix campus : ASU
47 “Ashes” (2018) singer : DION
49 Shaky start? : SEISMO-
50 Things to pick : NITS
52 Like some dramatic refueling : MID-AIR
54 Some tech sch. grads : EES
55 Hip : CLUED IN
57 2010s TV series that explores hacktivism : MR ROBOT
59 More than vex : TORMENT
60 Opposite of a scenic route : BEELINE
61 Frames on a diamond : INNINGS
62 Whole number : INTEGER

Down

1 Drying agents : TOWELS
2 Standing acclaim, at times : OVATION
3 Mosaic piece : TESSERA
4 “__ tu”: Verdi aria : ERI
5 Pete Seeger wrote a book on how to play five-string ones : BANJOS
6 Brown in the kitchen : ALTON
7 Jell-O serving, say : GLOB
8 Strong core components : ABS OF STEEL
9 Fall loosely : DRAPE
10 1, at times: Abbr. : JAN
11 Food and Nutrition Service org. : USDA
12 Minnesota Wild, for one : NHL TEAM
13 Mullahs or ministers : CLERICS
14 Very tough boss : TYRANT
21 Deferentially : HAT IN HAND
24 Dancer’s boss, informally : ST NICK
26 Cry : WEEP
29 Irrelevancies : MOOT POINTS
31 Katmandu native : NEPALI
33 “The Chi” airer, briefly : SHO
34 Blue : SAD
36 Beseeched : PLED
37 20th Greek letter : UPSILON
38 Sign with a crossed-out horseshoe-shaped arrow : NO U-TURN
40 Take a licking : LOSE BIG
41 “__ Like You”: Adele hit : SOMEONE
42 __ Spíritus : Cuban city meaning “Holy Spirit” : SANCTI
44 Polecat relative commonly kept as a pet : FERRET
45 Team listing : ROSTER
48 Using WhatsApp, say : IMING
49 Fire engine feature : SIREN
51 Highway behemoth : SEMI
53 Both ways at the start? : AMBI-
56 Man cave, for some : DEN
58 World Cup “Way to go!” : OLE!

24 thoughts on “LA Times Crossword 4 Jul 20, Saturday”

  1. 3 errors.. I had TAPINTO for 17A. That lead to 2 more errors, Didn’t know TESSERA and didn’t see the TOWELS.. I had TOTELS. I knew that wasn’t right..

    It was fun. I watched first couple of shows of Mr Robot.. Then got too dark for me.

    Be safe.

  2. 12:09, no errors. Straightforward solve.

    @John Daigle … I’ll have to report my latest findings about that Wilson golf ball via snail mail. I now think your instinct that it wasn’t created in the shape of an egg is correct. However, I don’t think being run over by an eighteen-wheeler was how it got that shape, so there’s still a bit of a mystery to be solved. I’ll try to mail the letter today …

  3. I had some errors. Acouple of abbrrevitations, and 3d. 57a never heard of that show. Filling in helped. Took me awhile today.

  4. One wrong letter giving two errors. Put in “way into” for 17 Across instead of the correct “was into” so the “y” also gave me “teysera” for 3 Down. D’oh!

    No WSJ due to the holiday so I’m finished pitting my pitiful brain cells against the Saturday grids. Hope everyone has a safe and sane 4th.

  5. No errors, but it took awhile and that “safari” answer was the last
    one I finally figured wasn’t an African trip, but an Iphoneapp.
    But here we have “moot points” as an answer to “irrelevancies’…
    so the debate about what “moot” means is renewed in my mind.
    Am I the only one who can’t seem to get it??’

    A Happy and safe “4th” to you all.

    1. @Mary …

      You’re not the only one to be confused by the word “moot”. I’ve never been able to fix it in my head and, in any case, it is so often misused that I usually have to figure out what a particular instance of it means from the context in which it appears. I would go so far as to say that it has long since reached the end of its useful life … 😜.

  6. LAT: Pretty hard, little more than an hour with, as Tony Michaels above, one wrong letter giving two incorrect answers.

  7. Re: 29D
    At the end of “My Cousin Vinny”, Marisa Tomei tells Joe Pesci, “Well, I guess that plan’s moot”.
    One of several classic lines in that great movie.

      1. Yes! I’m waiting for a Saturday puzzle clue of “young men in Judge Haller’s court” which, of course, would have to have an answer of “yutes” or “youts”😀.

  8. DNF. Saturday themeless puzzles are not my thing. Congrats to all who finished.

    But yet here’s another instance of how the definition of moot and the way it’s used are at polar opposites. If irrelevancies are a moot point then how can moot mean debatable? Who debates something that is irrelevant?

    1. @Rich – I’ve always understood moot meaning the question is debatable in which neither side of the argument is going to be able to “prove” their side. So you can look at the debate as being fun or interesting perhaps, but you can also see the debate as meaningless for not having an answer.

  9. Thanks, all. I guess I’m not the only one that can’t seem to
    get “moot” out of question. I guess it’s just an easy 4-letter
    word that crossword constructors are as confused about as
    the rest of us.

  10. DNF. NW side killed me.

    I was pleased to see that Bill included the “Aliens” movie reference for XENOMORPH as that was the first thing that popped in my head when I saw the clue.

    Other interesting movie trivia from the puzzle:
    ATRA is also the word for fire in the 1981 movie “Quest for Fire”, one of the words in a made-up language created by novelist Anthony Burgess (A Clockwork Orange). I remember that because, as teens, my brother and I would wonder how the chanting scene in the movie would’ve gone if Burgess had used “Gillette” instead.
    Stanley Kubrick, who opened up “Dr. Strangelove” with a MID-AIR refueling scene was disappointed that audiences interpreted it as a mother nursing a child as that was not what was intended.

  11. 37:35…I had Deon for 47A which made 48D EMING and because it is a computer word or whatever it is totally foreign to me as all computer lingo is.
    Computerese joins French,Spanish,German, Hebrew etc as real trouble for me in solving puzzles.
    Stay safe over the weekend and if your neighborhood is anything like mine there will be plenty of fireworks all night long.

  12. Time nothing to brag about, but, and this is a large but, no errors.
    First puzzle, and post, since last September. It was then I moved to Los Angeles, Hollywood to be exact, from Chicago, and have been busy settling in addition to regular, and irregular, activities.
    Being a patriotic Volunteer of Amerika today. See you at Getty House?

  13. New guy here on laxcrossword. I’ve enjoyed the LAT crossword for decades, originally on paper but now I prefer it online. Nice to see so many others here, and a nice puzzle today for me. Like others, started slow but then fell into place – that northwest corner – yeah. Lastly, I see at least one kindred spirit here, Hey Now, @Tony Michaels 🙂

    1. @Kent – Welcome. This is a friendly group and it’s just so very nice to have a discussion board that isn’t about politics or the corona virus or some other hot button topic, but rather crosswords and other vocabulary related matters for the most part.

  14. 20:14 no errors

    Several wrong guesses, my favorite being “BUCKNAKED” instead of “UNCLOTHED”. Also had to look up the Adele song.

    Hi, @Ken! I’m also fairly new. It’s a good club here!

  15. A bit too tough for me today; took about 53 minutes on-line with 3 or 4 look-ups along the way. Mostly here to look at the write-ups.

    Welcome to all the new people!!

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